It was my pleasure to be interviewed by Chaya Weiner for this Medium piece called 5 Things You Need to Build a Trusted And Beloved Brand!
As we know, a publicity stunt is a planned event designed to attract the public’s attention to the event’s organizers or their cause. Publicity stunts can be professionally organized, or set up by amateurs. Such events are frequently utilized by commercial companies and by celebrities, who notably include athletes and politicians.
During the course of my 30-year PR career, I’ve found that there are basically two types of people—stunt people and non-stunt people. And it’s really a matter of preference and comfort rather than results because a strong case can probably be made either way.
I’ll start by saying that I am not a “stunt man” per se, but on occasion, I have been known to use celebrities and stunt-like tactics to make a point.
Now, PETA (the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are big-time stunt people. And they get LOTS of media attention for dumb things like their latest one, writing a letter to a mayor in Idaho asking to rename “Chicken Dinner Road” to something more fowl-friendly. They wrote, “PETA is asking Mayor Nancolas to change this road’s name to one that celebrates chickens as individuals, not as beings to kill, chop up, and label as ‘dinner.’” Uh huh. And like most of their stunts, this one has been covered by every major news outlet you can name, so I guess mission accomplished, right?
Well, if PETA’s mission is to be known for doing really dumb things really loudly then yes, because that is the reputation the organization has cultivated over the years. So if you make a LOT of noise, but it doesn’t really serve your organization’s brand identity in a positive way, did you really win? See, I don’t think so.
The International House of Pancakes (ihop) is another one. Tons of press and awareness for its name change to ihob, not very much of it positive, and you’re left with a pretty empty feeling, not unlike the feeling after you’ve eaten a marginal quality breakfast for an affordable price.
To me, great PR is about relationships (that’s actually what the “R” stands for) and so when you’re making BIG headlines, you want that media/influencer coverage to somehow deepen your relationships or bring you new ones (preferably without damaging the existing ones). To me, that’s a real PR win.
One of the founders of my profession, P.T. Barnum, (yep) once said, “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.” And I get that. I really do. But as the profession has evolved and media audiences have become more complex and fragmented, I think he might agree with me that when publicity creates a negative perception of the brand, it’s probably not such a good thing.
So when you’re planning your next big PR stunt, just be sure to consider the consequences IF you don’t land it correctly.
Yeah, you’ve seen the creepy robot dogs opening doors and getting knocked down only to get back up again (which I know I’ve seen in a movie scene starring a certain Austrian-born muscle dude who may have possibly run the state of California at one time) But the machines are really coming to disrupt the marketing profession.
Like you, I receive a lot of e-mails trying to get my hard-earned dollars and promising me the world with very little risk involved. For example, I recently received one that said Learn the Full Stack of Digital Marketing Skills for $99 — EVERYTHING you need for marketing.
“Wow, everything for $99?,” I said, rethiinking my entire undergrad and graduate education. I was incredibly curious about what might be in this “full stack” I’d be getting.
Well, the “full stack” includes a very impressive array of tools like:
- Google Pay Per Click Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization
- Facebook/Instagram/SnapChat/LinkedIn Advertising
- Re-targeting (that is the practice invented by Satan of feeding you the same ad over and over again until you buy something, go insane or block the company from your view forever.)
- Landing Web Page Construction with Shopping Carts (to sell your amazing stuff)
And there you have it — the “full stack” you need to be an ace at marketing in 2019. Except, a few tiny things MIGHT be missing from this stack so I’ll just list those right here off the top of my head:
- Brand Messaging
- Inbound, Attraction-Based Tactics including Public Relations (Media/Influencer Relations) and Content Marketing (including video)
But the biggest list miss (to me) was the E word. Empathy.
Empathy is critically important in modern marketing because before you inflict your “full stack” of stuff on the world, you have to assume that the audience doesn’t really WANT to hear from you. This very useful assumption allows us to go deeper and create BETTER marketing that just might be able to earn the attention, trust and respect of today’s audiences.
And it’s missing. Audience empathy is entirely absent in the vast majority of marketing approaches I see. It’s not even considered. And yet, ironically, marketing’s main goal is to build relationships. You have to have empathy to do that. You can’t just talk, you must listen. You can’t just take, you must give. You can’t just sell, you must connect.
That stuff I just said — THAT is actual marketing. And if your company’s “stack” doesn’t start with empathy and include a lot of giving and connection/engagement, you might be stuck with just doing an expensive digital advertising campaign and calling it effective marketing.
Yeah, you’ve seen the creepy robot dogs opening doors and getting knocked down only to get back up again (which I know I’ve seen in a movie scene starring a certain Austrian-born muscle dude who may have possibly run the state of California at one time) But the machines are really coming to disrupt the marketing profession.
As Google will be quick to point out, yes, a machine can more quickly identify shapes, categorize things, and not miss any. Much more so than our feeble human brains. But here comes the million dollar question — IF marketing organizations had more information about their customers, would it REALLY matter? SHOULD they have this info?Would they REALLY be smarter? Or would they still send out more e-mails, cram people into funnels and really use the technology to just do more stuff, more frequently and poorly. Because as I see it, that’s what is happening with machine learning.
The “promise” of machine language and marketing automation is SO lovely. Google says “As consumer expectations grow for more personalized, relevant, and assistive experiences, machine learning is becoming an invaluable tool to help meet those demands. It’s helping marketers create smarter customer segmentations, deliver more relevant creative campaigns, and measure performance more effectively. In fact, 85% of executives believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.”
Uh-huh. And e-mail was supposed to help us communicate faster, more efficiently and more clearly than other methods too. Did it? I’ll wait while you go sort through the thousands of spam e-mails you received just since you started reading this one.
So according to Google, the phases where Machine Learning can get involved in marketing are as follows:
Audience discovery — Identify your most valuable customers. This is always good, BUT you CANNOT be creepy about it and this goes from zero to creepy in about two seconds if not monitored correctly.
Creative—Quickly serve the right message for every moment. This assumes the customer wants to hear from the brand at these moments and this isn’t accurate. Remember, your brand is at risk EVERY time you decide to communicate with someone so sending out more garbage is NOT the path to great relationships.
Optimization—Find the right customers in key moments. Again, you’re peeking through a lens that maybe you shouldn’t have access to so this must be done VERY carefully.
Measurement—Unlock the true value of each step on the path to purchase. Uh-huh, do I even need to say it again? Caution, caution, extreme caution should be used here.
Here’s your compass to navigating machine learning — what business are you REALLY in? How you answer will determine how comfortable you’ll be with the machines.
I WANT TO SELL, SELL, SELL — Congratulations! You’re in the “there are no limits to how creepy I’m gonna get to stuff my audiences down my funnel and sell some stuff to them! I want to know everything they are doing, feed it into a machine and use that information to serve up more ads during their “moments.”
I WANT TO CREATE LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS — Now, we’re talking. THIS is actual marketing right here where we exhibit Empathy, Trust, Brand Confidence, etc. And this is where we truly care about the AUDIENCE’s needs first and we know when to not be invasive, creepy and back off and let them have their “moments” ….without us.
You know, all comms technology was supposed to make things easier — the telephone, the TV, fax machines, computers and the Internet, e-mail, text messages — and NONE of it has worked this way. Mainly because aggressive marketing organizations are waiting right there to use every new tool to bother, annoy and generally creep out the audiences.
There is a much better way.
RobertsonComm helps our clients throw away their funnels and create powerful magnets to attract audiences, exhibit real empathy, not snoop on their data and their lives because that is NOT the way to win friends and influence people. New technologies like machine learning
Here in lovely and scenic Orange County, Calif., new home construction is at an all-time high. Which is exactly what you want to see when there aren’t enough schools, restaurants, infrastructure and even water to support the new people pouring into the area. (a story for another time). But as you’re driving by some of these massive developments, you see something interesting — a whole lot of unfinished houses.Don’t worry, they’ll be finished soon enough and new people will join us on the freeways and in line at the grocery stores. Yay!
When I look at the world of marketing, (all of the ads, websites, e-mails, sponsored posts, etc.) I see a ton of unfinished houses out there. Companies/organizations settling for poorly done, self-directed messaging with no compelling story or ability to attract the interest of an audience. Yet…they are still marketing. Still a part of the noise level. Almost every website I see either isn’t clear or isn’t very strong. And I think the problem here is that a lot of digital marketers and techno-savvy web firms who construct a lot of today’s marketing tools and tactics don’t have the first clue what messaging really is and why we spend so much time on it. There is no substitute for an actual education in marketing & communications.
It’s there you learn that messaging is not a punchline and it’s not something you “get” from the client. Messaging is the absolute core of any communications effort and must be viewed that way. When I find a company at a trade show and ask them “what is the emotional core of this brand?” and they can’t answer, yet they have a website, catchy name, full product line, corp ID materials and maybe even a mission statement (gag), I know that they’ve spent a bunch of time building decks, skylights and fancy sun porches on houses with NO foundation. So…they will probably collapse.
No matter how much marketing changes, this will ALWAYS be true. Sender. Receiver. Message. Boom! That’s the communications model you were taught in junior high and if you’re smart you need to still be using it. Truthfully, not enough people are using it. They get SO caught up in the various ways we’re going to communicate through influencer marketing, sales funnel optimization, marketing automation, etc. (insert BS buzzwords here) that they’ve missed the very simple point. Have. a. Message.
And make that message about who? That’s right, all about them. Count the number of personal pronouns in your current messaging. If the number of “we” and “us” outnumbers the “you” and “your” start over. No one cares about you, your company, your WHY WE DO THIS statement, your mission statement and any other bunch of personal branding marketing B.S. that’s been made up and thrown at you during your career. They only care about themselves. Better said, WE only care about OURSELVES. And it’s not a character flaw, it’s biology. I think it comes from our survival instinct. Yes, I’m sorry there’s a velociraptor chowing down on YOU, but let’s get back to ME. When push comes to shove, we are self-centered creatures.
The first step to making this whole thing called marketing better is having something to say…to them…about them. And if you’re super clever, you can find a way to intersect your message with the internal perceptions that our audiences either believe to be true about themselves or desperately want/need to be true. Doing this is called neuromarketing, but that’s a really fancy term for giving people EXACTLY what they want and need to hear at the deepest level. My company transforms ordinary businesses into extraordinary ones and we always start by fixing the message. Because you don’t want an unfinished house in a very crowded neighborhood.
Once upon a time in corporate and industrial communications, there was a wise guru who helped tell the company just what to say using the power of flowery and poofy language that almost made the company’s rather poor behavior disappear. Sometimes called a “doctor” of spin, this individual made a good living on a mountain of half-truths and sometimes pure lies. That was then, people. Today, we have a U.S. President who communicates using ALL CAPS on Twitter and THAT’s the channel where you’re gonna hear the news. Raw, hard and unfiltered like a rolled cigarette in an old Western.
And if you lack the tolerance for the dead-honest truth, it’s gonna hit you like one as you double over coughing. We are now (and have been for some time) in the anti-spin zone. Case in point, United Airlines, who has really been doing its best to unseat anyone else in the worst brand disasters of 2017 stories.
After its security forcibly removed a paying passenger so that one of its employees could make a flight, its CEO, who PRWeek recently named “Communicator of the Year” said this — “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accomodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.” Re-accommodate? Yeah, no. We all SAW the videos.
That was nothing short of full-blown assault..with blood pouring down the victim at the end. There comes a time when you must use those awesome “Communicator of the Year” skills and actually communicate. Maybe something like: “We were truly horrified to see this and Holy Good God this just isn’t us! Some people in Chicago clearly acted unilaterally and those people are going to be seeking new employment by the time I hit send on this.”
Ok, legal won’t let you send that — Then try to — Talk. Like. An. Actual. Person. Here’s the lesson and moral of the story — Stop spinning things and just talk. When you try to sound all “professional” and “smooth” you can end up sounding like a cold, uncaring robot (like United did during the recent leggings scandal) and those probably aren’t the “optics” you’re gunning for. Just like company press releases that brag about having a “robust b2b end-to-end solution.” You don’t have one.
And even if you did, NO ONE knows what that is or what it means to them. Business communications and business communicators need to take a hard lesson from President Donald J. Trump.
Zero spin directly from him and it’s at least 50 percent likely to offend someone. But…that’s where we are. That’s what we’re called to do.
Powerful words right there and not used as often as you might think. Most of us have pretty strong opinions about everything from national politics to how LOST ended. nike pegasus But I’ve found that many of our fellow humans don’t really share what they really think about business decisions, especially in corporate environments. And this collective lack of thinking (or expressing same) leads to some awesome decisions like:
- Starbucks deciding to racially profile its customers and engage in casual discussions about race relations in its stores. (um…how about no.)
- Budweiser playing fast and loose with the subject of date rape and taking it’s “up for whatever” campaign into dangerous new territory. (up for dumb marketing ideas?)
- Bill Cosby thinking it might be fun to have social media networks “meme” him. nike internationalist Which of course led to fresh allegations and the consummate destruction of his entire career and legacy. (a classic example of social media gone wild)
And the list goes on and on… nike air presto In my experience, thinking doesn’t always happen. In fact, it rarely does. Most people are afraid to say what they think. Oh, they’ve been taught well from an early age to just shut it and get in line. asics france Those who don’t are punished in various ways. We as a society made up of people and organizations of those people continue to punish those who disagree, those who say the emperor has no clothes when the dude is clearly friggin’ naked. We’ve all been in those meetings. nike air max 1 Hell, you might be in one right this minute. And stop reading your phone during a meeting — it’s just rude! Happy to say that I do actually think and I do express my counsel to my clients on a regular basis in an attempt to help them avoid such massive blunders on my watch. I see thinking and expressing it as a duty to them and I don’t take those two words “I think” lightly. They are important because what comes after is going to be a recommendation from me, their trusted communications adviser. Am I always right? Nope. And no one is. Am I right this time? Probably. (But that only comes from seeing quite a lot and being wrong quite a lot before) More people need to stop and think before they just do marketing-related things. Thinking is powerful. And expressing what we’re thinking to our clients and to the world can be the first step to really changing things for the better.
Like you, I observe the world on a daily basis and probably like you, I shake my head and say “Really?” a lot. chaussures ugg femme Regular readers of my stuff know that my company’s mission is to “save communications from bad marketing,” which is why I talk a lot about the bad stuff I’m seeing. But today I want to share with you a simple secret that if applied correctly will change everything about your marketing/PR program. adidas homme Ready? Trust and Respect Your Audience. I know, right? A vast majority of marketing I see (either b2b, b2c or B2whatever) lacks respect for the audience’s time, their opinion and their needs. ugg bottes And doesn’t trust them very much either. adidas femme soldes It’s needy, desperate, non-strategic and sometimes just stupid. So take your marketing program and ask yourself — do we respect our audience? Are we interrupting them from getting to something THEY want to see something WE want them to see (which btw has a terrible impact on YOUR reputation while you’re interrupting them). Are we SO desperate to sell something to them that we’ll program our ads and content to follow them around on the Web? Do we look at them like scientists view chimps pressing a button a certain amount of times to get a banana? A few recent examples: New 3D printing tech allows milk companies to show you if your milk has expired — LOL, or you could keep the price the same and just have customers rely on their eyes and tongue to do it. nike air max 90 homme See, dumb stuff is everywhere. Coffee company wants to have its baristas engage in conversations about race with customers — Really dumb. Customers want to get into and out of line as fast as possible. Respect that and keep that line moving. Giant online retailer hypes huge online sale day, but doesn’t make sure the user experience will be great — thus creating a giant PR nightmare and doing the exact opposite of what they were trying to accomplish in building the brand. A fine idea, but execution was poor and a great example of not understanding or respecting customer needs. Trust your audience and respect them. Make damn sure that when you choose to communicate with an audience that you are looking at it from THEIR side first. Do this and your “marketing” will be forever changed.
It’s been a week since the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris and all the talk in comms circles has been, “what is the proper response when things like this happen?” So I wanted to offer a few words about it. It’s also Thanksgiving next week and I think we can find an appropriate metaphor right there at the family table. When you’re little and you’re stuffing yourself with mashed potatoes (ahh the comfort), sweet potatoes, turkey and of course stuffing (named for the verb of the same name), it’s cute. yeezy adidas But sometimes, you would start talking while eating and your Mom would gently correct you by saying (all together now) “Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Because the animal flesh and vegetation you’re consuming should not be a wet and sloppy projectile on this great day of giving thanks. Marketers should heed Mama’s advice and actually just the first part. adidas femme Don’t talk. And this is really, really HARD for marketing and comms people because we LOVE to talk. So much so that we sometimes forget the single most important facet of human communications — listening. Far less sexy than talking, but infinitely valuable, listening provides a way to not only rest your larynx for a bit, but it provides that incredible golden sound of silence that makes people kinda miss your voice. nike pour homme pas cher When events like the Paris attacks happen, the world’s plate is pretty full. And at these times, the world doesn’t care about anything other than offering sympathy and support. Brands can do this too, but always do it with respect and honor, you know, like a real human person would —not a marketing idiot hell-bent on talking through the moment of silence. I mean, who DOES that? Here’s a good mental trick for marketing comms folks — During times of crisis just imagine YOUR message at a funeral. If you’re at a funeral and everyone is offering condolences and support and you scream out, “hey, want to really honor the dead? — just paint your nails with my awesome “wish you were still here but you’re not” black nail polish to mark the occasion,” Then you’re a bit of an insensitive a-hole. adidas ace When you do this on a global scale, you are officially a globally recognized insensitive a-hole. So don’t. Just….don’t. When the world’s plate is full, it’s not the time to do anything other than offer sympathy and support. nike air max thea soldes And if that’s too much, then follow your Mother’s advice and don’t talk at all.
I remember it well. I was in second grade and all of the other kids had left the classroom for recess. I had the opportunity to snag an additional Dums Dums sucker from my teacher’s bowl on her desk and no one would ever know. So I did. And, gotta say, as I can recall it was a great sucker. Cherry, I think, but possibly Watermelon. When the teacher came back, she noticed something was wrong and she asked me, “Scott, did you take an extra sucker from my desk” Boom. The moment of truth. A direct question and a choice. asics gel lyte v To lie or not to lie. I chose to tell the truth mainly out of guilt (a very powerful emotion), but it was the right thing to do. Since then, I’ve cut back on the Dums Dums suckers and I’ve dedicated my life to the pursuit of better communications. Better for people, for companies, hell, for the world at large. And believe me when I tell you that effective communications is designed to build something powerful. A currency that is worth all the Dums Dums suckers on the planet. timberland soldes Trust. Lying destroys trust without exception and without further delay. People and companies who lie get caught and then…well, you know what happens. Despite the giant smokescreen of many colors surrounding Rachel Dolezal, one thing remains. She lied. A lot. For a lot of years. To a lot of people. She said, “I think the discussion is about what it means to be human.” Not at all. adidas nmd The discussion is about you, a single person faced with a choice to lie or not, and…lying. And lying does what again, class? That’s right. Welcome to the land of no trust, Rachel. Montel Williams gets it and does a fine job explaining the real issues pertaining to the NBC Today Show interview of Rachel where more softballs were lobbed than a junior high PE class. I try not to work with people or companies who lie. Not for simply moral reasons, but also for business reasons. Lying or exaggerating is bad for business because it destroys the very thing my company is trying to build. asics gel quantum 360 Sure, the Cherry (or Watermelon) sucker will be amazing and you could probably get away with it.
There is true evil in this world, my friends. It waits in the shadows biding its time for the perfect moment to strike and inflict untold havoc on its innocent prey. I’m talking of course about marketing. (shudder) Think about it. Marketing has all but destroyed human communications as we know it. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples. asics chaussures Mankind invents the letter — marketing counters with junk mail and floods all of our mailboxes with untargeted, awful garbage — and that’s exactly where most of it ends up. Where is Wall-E when you need him? Mankind brings forth the telephone — marketing is there years later with telemarketing and is the single reason why most people have abandoned their land lines or don’t ever answer them. Also a big reason why marketers would rather introduce themselves as a male nurse rather than a “marketing professional” Mankind creates e-mail (you’ve got mail) — marketing, undaunted, is there with spam and entire new tools must be created and used just to keep it all away. Ridiculous. adidas superstar aliexpress Mankind designs the Internet and Web — marketing oozes all over it with unsightly banner ads, which are “re-targeted” at you until you either submit and buy whatever it is or block them from your screen (hating their brand all the while). acheter chaussures nike Mankind creates text messages — marketing is looking for ways in there, but hasn’t quite peed in that pool just yet. nike air max 2016 But just give ‘em time, right? Yes, irresponsible, awful marketing is responsible for the very breakdown of human communication and of course we have no one but consumptive culture and addictive ways to thank or blame. But, I will say, that not all marketing is evil and the difference lies in a simple choice. “Are you willing to risk your brand’s reputation and relationships to get sales in the short term?” If the answer is yes, you’re going to be moving over the Dark Side of the Force pretty quickly. If no, then you have the unique opportunity to do things better, to create better marketing that attracts people and doesn’t interrupt them. The kind that has credibility and trust and works hard every day to protect that trust. You’ll be one of the good guys.
The oxygen-breathing and probably well-meaning, yet misguided humans who brought you spam, telemarketing and re-targeted online advertising now proudly present the latest attempt to ruin all human communications: marketing automation. With this horrid creation, oh yes, you too can:
- Schedule MORE messages and MORE junk to be sent to your customers and prospects in the blind hope that something will stick (Also known as spray and pray or SAP if you’re into TLAs)
- Remove yourself from any responsibility for your communications because it’s AUTOMATED. goedkoop nikes (Yeah, so was SkyNet and that didn’t work out so well)
- Free yourself and your staff up to presumably do more thinking (although clearly you are not doing much if you are using marketing automation)
In case you can’t tell, I’m on the warpath again. My target this time is the new trend of “marketing automation.” And that latest bit of marcom horror is defined as “software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.” It is supposed to “increase efficiency” and “reduce human error.” Right. Well, there’s a big ol’ human error to start off with because MORE communications DOES NOT EVER equal BETTER communications. These repetitive “tasks” we’re automating will hit someone’s inbox or feed and for that, (in my opinion) we must RESPECT the audience a little more. Here’s the thing marketers, most of the time, people really don’t want what we are promoting, but promote we must. I get it. So many of us communicators feel the pressure to blast away like Elmer Fudd with that ridiculously large shotgun trying to hit Bugs. (and he won’t) and allow me to drop a spoiler — you won’t either. Communication is and must be fundamentally about trust and respect. And it’s a delicate balance that must be carefully weighed with each action. Like a king who must decide whether to spend his troops’ blood in a battle. chaussures ugg femme There is a cost to both sides and the decision to communicate shouldn’t be as easy as deciding which organic salad to choke down for lunch. Here a few fundamental rules re: communications The audience is in control. Respect them and choose to communicate with them ONLY when you can bring value or enrich their lives in some way. Don’t make it all about you, make it about them. timberland chaussure Earn trust each day. Protect your communications channel like you would a newborn baby. nike air max pas cher In other words, think before you do things. Actually, think about the outcome or the possible outcomes of sending a message. Be disciplined. Send less stuff, but send BETTER stuff. Take all of the time you would spend getting your silly marketing automation software going and design something truly worth sharing. No software or machines can do that (yet), so suck it, SkyNet! Companies want and need to communicate. Everyone understands that. But before you push that button, ask yourself, “what gives me and my company the right to do this?” And if you can’t come up with a good answer, file it for later or delete.
You know, there is a curse that follows you around and tries to …..REALLY sell you. asics gel lyte And you picked up this truly unwelcome visitor just for visiting a web page to browse or maybe even buy something. nike pas cher And now…It follows you…forever…or until you kill it by changing browsers, blocking cookies or even the offending sites. adidas pas cher Yep, it’s a horror story alright and cooked up by the same devious masterminds who brought you pop-up ads, and “sponsored content.” It’s called “Re-targeting.” In case you haven’t actually experienced it, or did and just weren’t able to give this thing of hatred a name, it’s when you visit a site to browse or buy something, don’t and then ads about that thing seem to show up on every other site you visit. nike roshe run It’s not just bad, it’s the absolute worst marketing tactic I can name. asics nimbus air jordan 31 And we’re all familiar with telemarketing, right? In the “stuff that’s wrong with marketing strata,” the people who invented re-targeting should be ranked just below infomercials for the friggin’ Shamwow. Yes, that’s right, the Shamwow annoys me less. Five Reasons Re-targeting is Horrific:
- Annoying — It’s right there on every single site you visit, that thing you didn’t want enough to buy the first time.
- Creepy — Huge reminder in your face that you’re being tracked by marketing idiots and it’s creepy
- Needy — Back off, hot shot, I’ll let YOU know when I’M ready, k?
- It’s actually Anti-Marketing — Marketing is supposed to be about giving the consumer what he/she wants/needs and if we want it, we’ll friggin’ find it.
- Potentially Relationship Ending — If you bug me enough, I will be gone and make sure there will be zero chance of us ever doing business together. adidas nmd Dear marketer, I know you want all the golden eggs, but wait until the damn goose squirts em out, k?
My company’s mission is to save communications from bad marketing and that starts with all of us agreeing that relentlessly hitting a possible customer with an endless flurry of “targeted” ads is a very bad idea. I’m sure some will counter with, “hey, but they work.” And if you’re after short term sales and don’t care which potential customer relationships get ruined in that process, then yes,, Virginia, they work. nike air max nike air max bw But if you believe that marketing should be more subtle and relationship-driven, then this tactic has NO place in your quiver.
My company has its healthcare insurance via UnitedHealthCare or UHC or as I call them “putting the heart in HMO”. (yes, that is sarcasm). asics gel pas cher adidas superstar 80s Now, I receive no fewer than five pieces of mail each week from UHC with various scintillating bits of info that I and my team needs to do our jobs. But more often than not, it’s just junk destined to be recycled without being opened. nike air max 90 bottes timberland pas cher Why? It’s because UHC has taught me through it’s careless disregard for my right to be left alone that just about everything they send me is worthless. And I think less of the brand (if there is one) because they are wasting a ton of money on paper and postage. And I do mean wasting it. It occurs to me that many marketing departments such as UHC are out there just doing things, punching tactics off a list without any actual human thought about “so how does this help them?” or “I wonder what our customer thinks of our brand when we take this approach?” or even “why the hell are we doing this?” Any of those answers would trigger a chain reaction that would stop the onslaught of junk mail. And the same can be said of e-mail, telemarketing calls, banner ads, flyers, brochures and sponsored posts. Simply put, marketing organizations are laser focused on communicating without possibly considering that the target doesn’t want or need it. And they have taught all of us that marketing-based communications are not to be trusted and generally pretty worthless. My profession did this. And we can un-do it too. nike air max 95 Start by thinking. adidas zx flux femme I know it’s not as sexy as the latest marketing automation tools and analytics (which can be fun), but Good Lord can you see why the machines can’t be in charge? They don’t think and apparently neither do the people operating them. The difference is that we marketing-driven humans CAN think and choose not to. Stop and think about every element in your marketing mix. If it’s not good enough to be voluntarily sought out and consumed by the target audience. adidas superstar aliexpress Don’t send it. chaussure tn pour homme basket nike Start over. They deserve at least that much respect. Make it your goal to teach your customers that you will not waste their time with garbage, that you will only communicate when you have something meaningful for them and that you will stand apart from the rest of “marketing” by treating them with trust and respect. Do this and it’s just like picking up a single can or bottle on a littered playground. You’re making a small, but important, difference.
Recently, Kraft issued a warning about some Kraft Singles cheese slices that could put consumers at risk of choking. asics pulse soldes As many news outlets have reported “the company announced a voluntary recall affecting 36,000 cases of American cheese slices sold in 3-lb. and 4-lb. boxes.” Ok first, who is buying cheese in 3-4 POUND boxes? Good Lord, that is a lot of cheese. Cheese isn’t exactly a “stock-up” food because it goes bad. nike internationalist Like you don’t hear anyone bragging — “hey, come check out my massive collection of milk” pretty much for the exact same reason. But I digress. What I want to talk about is why the company would recall 36,000 cases of cheese based on 10 complaints and reports of at least three people “choking” on a remaining piece of plastic film that sticks to the cheese even after you rip off the first plastic apparently. What sort of devil cheese is this that can defy mankind’s ability to rip off the wrapper and consume it? So quick math test — what is 36,000 divided by 13? The answer – not nearly enough to warrant an entire communications program when the solution is simply — “hey open your eyes and make sure you’re not putting plastic in your mouth.” I wish I had this assignment for Kraft — “Scott, we need to inform people about the potential dangers of our cheese.” Man, I could have fun with that. Here’s the point, and I’m speaking to Kraft and everyone else within the sound of my digital voice. asics gel lyte Handle this differently please. Make sure the problem is larger than a rounding error prior to taking action and then take action appropriately and not like it’s some sort of actual crisis. bottes ugg pas cher I saw this silly report on CBS, CNN, The LA Times, USA TODAY, NBC, MSNBC, US News & World Report, The Chicago Tribune, AOL and Time Magazine just to name a few. Really, national news media? Really? Although it did make me WANT to have some cheese so maybe there’s something to that reach and frequency stuff.
This week, ISIS struck just about an hour away from my office. …Another horrible tragedy. And they (the terrorists) got exactly what they wanted: 24/7 media attention, knee-jerk reactions and fear. We the people gave it to them freely as we have done so many times before. We blamed gun control, immigration and Visas and questioned our security. timberland earthkeepers bottes Again, that was probably the plan. From a comms perspective, if you want to rally public opinion in one way or another, there needs to be an event, a stimulus or a series of events designed to do so. chaussure nike pas cher Now consider what ISIS and other terrorist groups truly want — they want to see an end to the United States of America—and not just the country, the very idea of such a place. The idea of a free, equal society where anyone can say anything at any time, worship any God they choose, aspire to become anything, including president…etc. They want us to stop acting so…American — to close our borders, to restrict our freedoms and our speech, to fear each other. nike free That’s the real plan. They are like children who misbehave for attention — it’s hard to look away, but any parent knows the only way to stop the tantrum is to deny the motivation for the behavior. Snuff the fire by cutting its oxygen supply. They are playing us and our 24/7 news and media machine is only too happy to comply and we are only to happy to get sucked in. nike air max 2014 So I say (and this will be some radical thinking here)….let’s not. I am now calling for a voluntary ban of any mass shooting or terrorist activity stories from the news media. Media conglomerates, recognize your role in creating this problem and do what you can to take away the stimulus. It really is that simple. And then we the people, need to force ourselves not to pay attention to these stories — boycott them nationwide, take away the ratings, and stop reacting and behaving as one would expect but do the opposite. Like the Whos in Whoville after the Grinch tried to steal Christmas, we need to not limit our freedoms, but expand them further (because they HATE that). not let fewer people into this country legally, but more.
This year’s collection of Super Bowl Ads had us feeling lots of things. Humor with Liam Neeson’s Taken character spouting revenge over losing a mobile video game. nike tn Headwear Love with Budweiser’s Lost puppy finding its way home with the help of the truly awe-inspiring brand ambassador Clydesdales. Lots of powerful emotions being used to solidify brands. And just a quick review of branding, what you’re after is called emotional transference where the positive feelings you have at the end of an ad are transferred to the brand and thus, you “feel” that way about something for which you wouldn’t ordinarily have any feelings. nike air presto That’s the magic. Soldes Louboutin mu legend zen online And usually, it works pretty well. But there was at least one instance of emotional transference gone wrong and that was Nationwide insurance who aired a classic bait-and-switch style ad that had as its punch line the death of a child. Of course, the Nationwide ad drew immediate criticism with many questioning both the subject matter and the decision to use such a serious matter as fodder for an advertisement. chaussure adidas And no surprise it ranks near the bottom of the annual “Ad Meter.” The company said, “preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Most people don’t know that. Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation. The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance.” But we know the purpose of branding is emotional transference and thus, be careful what you wish to be transferred, right? If that ad comes to mind when you think of the brand and it makes the customer uncomfortable enough to mentally turn the page to the next company, then I think we can see it as a pretty monumental failure for the brand. Lesson — ALWAYS think about the emotions you want to stir and want to transfer to your brand. It isn’t enough to try to make us feel, we must feel the right thing for the brand to succeed. And that’s called strategy. Here’s a link to the final AdMeter Results. The Nationwide “Boy” Ad was 46 of 61.
So as I’m writing this, two fairly large social media blunders are playing out. nike air max 2016 pas cher The first was from Starbucks who wanted to encourage their baristas to engage with customers in talk about race relations in the U.S. (huh?) And the second was Bud Light who got in trouble for taking its “Up for Whatever” to some dangerously harassing territory by encouraging people to pinch people who are and are not wearing green on St. Running Asics Sneakers Pat’s Day. Mmmkay? But I really want to talk about the aftermath — how you deal with your problems often reveals more about your brand than how you deal with good news, smiles and high fives. The Starbucks Corp Comm Director deleted his entire Twitter account due to threats? — and tried to erase any trace of the race relations program tweets. (Loud Buzzer) That response is awful. Bud Light also deleted the Tweet and apologized after Twitter went wild and several media outlets picked up the story. (Louder Buzzer) Nope. In my opinion, here’s how you deal with big screwups that either you, yourself caused or you’re mopping up for someone else. Be…(wait for it) Real. Don’t be scared, be real. Don’t delete files, shred evidence, burn down buildings to hide your tracks — just friggin’ own up to it and move the hell on with your life. air max 90 pas cher In fact, say these extraordinarily powerful six words — “I admit I made a mistake.” Not we. I. You. Accept it. Don’t hide it, don’t deny it, don’t blame it on anyone or anything else — just own it and keep on truckin’. Because you see, social media is all about imperfection. It’s a real-life 24/7 news feed with all the nuttiness and ribaldry you’d expect from humanoid persons. And that’s what makes it cool. We all make mistakes daily and I’m not talking about “oh, I really shouldn’t have watched that Kardashians episode and thus I’m questioning not only my life but the validity of all life on earth” mistakes. And if you’re really good, lean into the mistake and own that sucker. nike air max 2016 kopen If I was the Corp Comm guy at Starbucks, I’m not deleting my account, I’m saying, “hey people, sorry we had a little too much Breakfast Blend today and we’re trying to solve a few too many of the world’s problems when we know YOU actually just want coffee and free wifi.” If I’m Bud Light, I’m saying — “Yes, up for whatever, but realize that the other person might just be up for slapping you upside your head.” And if people get offended, maybe THEY shouldn’t be looking for moral guidance from a BEER company’s Twitter feed. It’s not exactly the church, people. If you’re trying to be edgy with humor, you WILL be taking risks and not every one of those risks is going to pan out. But the alternative is being boring and that’s just as much of a brand killer albeit much more slowly. I say, ride that line, push that envelope and if you cross it or push too far, just own it and try again. Otherwise, when you delete those tweets and block people from your feed (and of course we see it), you’re deleting a little bit of our trust along with it. You may not need this post right now, but save it and read after you make your next social media mistake.
If you’re into advertising, particularly signs or “signage” if you want to get all jargon-y, then mid-term election season is your time baby! I was struck by this image as I went to purchase Halloween candy today. (yes, I waited until the day before Halloween, so what!) Here we have a lovely field of grass, perhaps a field a political dreams and aspirations as democracy once again selects its starting team to roll things forward. bottes ugg pas cher Except….this is just awful marketing. It’s a visual eyesore, no actual messages communicated and we’re all kind of used to it. So, I thought I’d help. Here’s some ways political candidates (probably the next batch) can differentiate themselves from others in the…um, field. Your name on a sign is NOT a message — SAY something, preferably something that matters to US, not you. Something like Pedro said in Napoleon Dynamite — “Vote for me and I’ll make all of your dreams come true.” Hey, at least it was about them! Pick a color palate OTHER than red, white and blue. adidas superstar soldes You’re American, we get it. Marketing is about punching where they ain’t blocking, you know? If everyone else is red, white and blue, you should be….. (be creative and figure it out) Understand that we don’t trust you. asics tiger We trust less than zero percent of politicians, but we have to vote for someone. Use the lack of trust to your advantage. Hell, I would lean into it and say, “come on, I’m probably not as bad as the last one” or something like that. Be human, be funny (if you are) but please do something differently. My company actually does not do any work for politicians. Clearly, we should. I did help my Dad once in his bid to be President of the American Dental Association, but I wasn’t that much help given the behind the scenes politics of that situation. A story for another time, but if I had it to do over again today, I’d make sure his campaign would be remembered. timberland 6-inch premium That’s the game, folks. Cutting through the clutter and making an impression with someone where they will actually remember you when the time comes. And you can’t do it by being exactly like everyone else.
Unfortunately, we see it every single day. adidas pas cher Marketing. Even the word makes us cringe. And why? Because most of it isn’t worthy of being called actual marketing. timberland femme It’s boring, ordinary, mis-targeted and/or completely uninspired. Or what I sometimes call bordinary. It’s actually that condition that gives my company a reason for existing. To combat bordinary marketing in all the places where it may hide (such as my inbox under SPAM) and do my part to fill the world with better approaches that accomplish results and maybe in some small way repair the reputation of “marketing” for the true professionals out there who still practice it. (insert patriotic music, doves, etc,) Where does bordinary marketing start? To me, it’s always the message. If the message is bad/wrong, everything is bad/wrong and it stuns me how few people realize this. The good news is, once the message is fixed, everything can be fixed and better stories can be told, reinforced and shared about the company. 2017 asics Bordinary marketing isn’t just a boring b2b problem, either (although you do see it often in these approaches). But b2c marketing can be just as bordinary. Again, it’s usually an uninspired message that is the core of the corruption. But there is hope. asics france There are good, professional branding/PR/marketing firms and consultants out there who know stuff. And there’s really no technological or logistical substitute for knowing stuff. It shines through and creates marketing approaches that are worthy of being called “marketing.” The kind that doesn’t make you shake your head and and curse its very existence. Robertson Communications works hard to be one of the good ones, and there are others who wage war daily on bordinary marketing. If you’re a business owner who “doesn’t get all this marketing stuff,” then for God’s sake, team up with someone who does.
In my previous blog post “Anyone Can Call it Marketing” I talked about how Marketing is a very broad term and many different types of service agencies describe what they do as “marketing” so it can be quite confusing to business owners and clients. adidas femme soldes Today, I want to talk to all the “do it yourself” marketers out there. Truth is, we live in a world where many people believe they can do marketing themselves and thus, save a lot of money. nike air huarache soldes Sounds great, but so does that e-mail you get about receiving millions of dollars from an African Prince. Tools including the awfully-named “Constant Contact,” allow anyone to produce an e-mail newsletter and inflict it upon their target audiences at at time. It’s easy — honestly a little too easy, and really should come with a big warning. ATTENTION: IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE ISN’T REMOTELY INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. Just because you can, does not mean that you should. I call this the “Jurassic Park” argument because in the movie of the same name, they have a conversation about it just before the deadly dinos destroy everything and just about everyone. …But it works for marketing too. In 2014, great marketing is fundamentally about trust. If you haven’t built or earned trust, then why would ANYONE believe what you say, buy your products and services and tell others to do the same. asics basket Yet businesses everywhere spend their days blasting out ads, direct mail, brochures and a quiver full of other arrows (yes, including social media) without solving the most fundamental challenge: Do they really trust us? Why should they? What are we doing to earn their trust? So I want to launch a new e-mail service called “Occasional Contact” (patent pending) that tells business owners, sure you can do it yourself and this program makes it very easy…BUT then runs a little wizard that zooms over their preview draft and spits back things like: BACK OFF — Be considerate of your target’s privacy and aware of your own neediness and desire to communicate/sell. ugg australia If this is your 3rd e-newsletter this month, please close the program immediately. EASY, TIGER — Does your content provide any sort of value to your target audience or are you selling like a crazed Girl Scout outside of a medical marijuana clinic? REALLY? — Are you repeating stories because you are lazy or do you feel the audience was somehow wrong in ignoring them the first time around? From what I’m seeing, the world is ready for organizations who know how to pick the right window and deliver real value with their communications. Or maybe sending out communications in bulk should require some kind of license to make sure the power isn’t abused.
Q: What do you call thousands of journalists and editorial staffers without hotel rooms, bottes ugg pas cher clean drinking water and functioning door knobs? A: A PR Nightmare. adidas femme pas cher (See Sochi) Here’s a new video about how NOT to handle PR for your event using the Sochi Olympics as a fine model.
I am sick of the probably-corporate-communications-generated-BS word “transparency.” It is a sad day when our collective faith in gov’t, business and organized religion has fallen to the point where these organizations have to use a special word to show people we’re not hiding something….this time.
And in that vein, I’d like to take it just a step further and add a few contenders to replace this horrid, trite word. nike air presto soldes air jordan future Scott’s replacements for “transparency” Sinvisiblity — where all the dirty laundry is hanging out there for all to see Truthicity — just sounds honest and so it must be Saranwrappitude — corporate secrets sealed in for vacuum-packed freshness Brainstorming aside, here at the end of lovely 2014, Corporate and government communications should first strive to be real. Real people facing real problems in the real world. 2018 nike air max adidas pas cher Sounds like an awful TV show pitch, but man, it’s getting harder to read this stuff. ugg bottes nike dynamo And it makes everyone in the profession look bad, nay, dishonest. air jordan 31 adidas chaussures I want to see a world where organizations no longer need to use silly words like “transparency” because we have enough courage to tell the actual truth and our audience can just assume we’re sticking with that plan. Until then, all of these corporate statements boasting their “transparency” need to be covered in Saran Wrap to trap their foul odor.
All client service firms wrestle with the delicate balance of maintaining great client relationships and being responsible for producing great work so the relationship continues. But, if you do this long enough, you will run into a situation where those two things are at odds with each other. adidas superstar soldes One solution is to become another “yes” man, telling the emperor that he/she looks FANTASTIC in those new clothes, and summarily cashing the check. After all, as the sales adage goes “the customer is ALWAYS right,” right? When people look at organizations who are allowing their reputations to be flushed down the commode with each work spoken at a press conference (ahem, NFL), I often think the strategy room must be filled with “yes” people lacking a proverbial plunger….or the client is ignoring counsel. It’s a tough one. I mean, when you’re hired for your expertise and that expertise isn’t followed, yet you are still expected to deliver on the objectives, the immortal words of Steven Covey and something about a “Lose-Win” scenario leaps to mind. So as communicators, the trick here is to help the client see how their plan might not work and make going with yours their idea. After all, that is why you were hired and why you’re paid. adidas ultra boost First, as you can probably tell, I’m not a “yes” man. I feel it’s my duty not only to the client, but to my profession to always provide the very best counsel that I can. And I rarely care whose feelings get hurt. Maybe it’s because I’m a Taurus or maybe because I’m from Missouri the original “show-me” state and Midwesterners tend to tell it like it is. asics france But I like to think it’s because I care and it’s truly important to me to guide the client to the best decision or course of action and no offense out there, but it’s probably not the one coming from them. (see expertise part above). We need more of this. nike air max 2017 dames In my opinion, there are far too many “yes” men and women, afraid to counsel and allowing their counsel to go unnoticed and thus we have an abundance of awful branding and marketing decisions and work. PR is supposed to guide the organization to its greatest successes and it can’t do that if counselors are too timid to actually provide counsel. So here is my short list of what to do when the client is wrong and you know it. (you don’t have to clap your hands) Tell them. Right now. Do not finish your coffee, get off your butt and stand in front of them and stop the damn train. It is your job and no one else in the organization is going to do it. Make sure you go in with data to back up your recommendation. mu legend redzen online This is the part where we get to be scientists as well as artists so put on the lab coat and get your findings together Don’t make it personal. Again, this is your job. Officiel Christian Louboutin It’s not about being right or being smarter, it’s about guiding the organization to the best possible outcome. adidas femme soldes Providing counsel that challenges the client’s position doesn’t have to be a relationship or account killer. Some of the best leaders I know really respect and value PR’s contribution to the overall strategy and well-being of the organization.
Let’s face it, most marketing messages are interrupting something great. You’re watching your favorite show or NFL football game and boom, unwanted, unwelcome messages. Sometimes funny or entertaining, but NOT the reason we’re there. Open your mailbox, there they are again. Inbox — well, Good Lord, to say that they dominate the content doesn’t even come close. How did it come to this? It’s because with very few exceptions, the profession of marketing and most marketers are wildly inconsiderate of anything beyond getting their message across at all costs. But you see, one of these costs is the actual relationship that you’re trying to form with the prospect. So you might want to tread carefully. And in case you haven’t noticed, society is REALLY starting to frown on and block unwanted and unwelcome marketing messages. nike pour homme pas cher And they’re getting much better at it. Society’s increasing lack of tolerance for bad marketing represents an amazing opportunity for those bold enough to take it. Here is my golden marketing sage wisdom. Ready? Stop interrupting people. nike pas cher 2017 You cannot win under that scenario. You are set up to lose. nike tn Instead, put your marketing messages out in the form of interesting content that people will choose to draw in. I’m a huge fan of public relations for this reason alone. Nothing you can send out yourself equals the trust factor and credibility given of a member of the media saying it for you. So while people are saying “the end of PR is near because now you can just publish content yourself so why do you even NEED the media? LOL. Good one. bottes ugg pas cher You need them because no one believes a word you or your company says. You have about zero trust (according to the latest Pew Research and who is going to argue with Pew?). Your lovely “content marketing” is seen as sales-driven awful spam by a world who is sick to death of being sold. It’s time for a better strategic approach and that approach starts with courtesy, empathy and looking at the target audience as a human being instead of a click-through metric. The new world is coming and it really doesn’t matter if you’re ready or not. nike air zoom pegasus Start your New Year off with changing your marketing strategy from interruption marketing to relationship-focused marketing and communications.
HBO’s John Oliver really took the digital marketing business out to the woodshed this weekend for a much-needed swatting surrounding the concept of “native advertising/content” and how it is corrupting the independent and free press here in the good ‘ol US of A. bottes timberland I agree and I loved the piece. When you start with the principle of “how can we trick the consumer into thinking our way and doing what we want,” then you already have a big problem in your marketing program. A big ethical problem and one that it likely to ripple into other people’s business, like PR for instance. As it stands today, PR works pretty well and it works due to TRUST. Not that everyone believes every word that runs in the media, but our media has a higher trust factor than business, organized religion and gov’t put together. basket nike So when an editor or reporter brings us a story, we’re inclined to believe it, trust it more than when a company brings us the exact same story. nike air presto soldes (remember the part about not trusting business?) Enter native ads or native content. chaussure nike adidas zx flux This is where a media outlet cleverly disguises an ad message into an editorial format in an attempt to get the consumer to drop his or her ad-blocking walls, take in the information and engage in some type of sales-driven behavior. Oliver cites some good examples of how TIME, The New York Times and the Atlantic recently have done this and he rightly expresses concern about how this practice, while profitable, might just be the un-doing of our free and independent press. Most marketers lack the common sense or ethical compass needed to know where the line is on this stuff, and so they really need be left out of it. nike internationalist Like the greedy farmer who killed the goose to get all the golden eggs at once, they are the problem and the media outlets need to get them out of the henhouse (so to speak). But how will we pay for it? I say crowdfund it. adidas stan smith Pas Cher If thousands of Americans will spend money on Kickstarter to fund an exercise wheel for cats, I’d say a few shekels to support the free press would probably do pretty well. ugg pas cher Or newspapers could follow the lead of the OC Register and NY Times and start putting up paywalls for their exclusive content. Both papers are proving it can be done and thus the walls between paid content and actual journalism and even earned PR can remain intact. As someone who loves PR, I’d have to see it ruined by greedy marketing idiots who created this new native content and defend it with a barrier of reconstituted bovine waste (or bullshit) that just stinks. The battle is for trust. The editorial media still have it, but they are only a few “native content” pieces away from losing it forever.
The origins of human communications can be traced back many thousands of years and depending on your belief system, either have you imagining it as two cave people grunting about something probably food-related or Adam and Eve chatting in the big Garden about how cool it is to be naked. air max pas cher But I guarantee you that it was targeted and had a friggin’ point. Too much of marketing communications today seems to be about nothing, like a very unfunny Seinfeld episode. For example, I just received an invite on LinkedIn to join a group called (and I kid you not) “the Southern California Men’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association.” Awesome. By way of background info, would it help you to know that: I have never been anywhere near a men’s gymnastics event college or otherwise I am not in particularly good shape I don’t look what you call “amazing” in spandex I did not go to college in Southern California I have pretty much zero interest in gymnastics So…I ask you, gentle readers of this post, am I the right person to join this group? Then, why in God’s name would I receive such a communication? I responded to the invite with one word — Why? Why do you want ME? And if you cannot answer that, then why would you waste both of our time sending out this communication? Why indeed. adidas nmd homme pas cher Why do we communicate? Why do we have web pages, social media pages, endless e-mail threads, text messages, phone calls and of course the snail mail? When was the last time you REALLY asked why your business is doing the things it does. How many men’s gymnastics invites are YOU sending out to audiences who could care less? The “why” in communications is key. Every single little tactic in your plan should be able to confidently answer the why question with an answer and some measurement. If not, kill it. nike kwazi Right now. chaussure nike And “because we always have and we’re still in business” is a very poor answer to why. It reminds me of the scene in “The Matrix Reloaded” (great movie) when Neo and his buds show up at the Merovingian’s restaurant and he says: Merovingian: The question is, do *you* know why you are here? Morpheus: We are looking for the Keymaker. Merovingian: Oh, yes. It is true. The Keymaker. Of course. But this is not a reason. This is not a “why”. The Keymaker himself – his very nature is a means. It is not an end. And so to look for him is to be looking for a means to do… what? What indeed. If more people started with the premise of we want our communications program to do X, then we’d probably all receive less spam e-mail and mistargeted communication attempts. Adidas Soldes If you want help focusing your communications program and adding some real what’s and why’s, contact us today.
So how many cars do you have to recall before you officially have a reputation crisis? GM knows. General Motors Company. Wow, everything about the brand is iconic. When I think about it I think of a strong, shiny steel shield logo representing Detroit grit and hard-fought quality. chaussure timberland pas cher General Motors produces vehicles in 37 countries under ten brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Opel, Holden, Vauxhall, Wuling, Baojun, Jie Fang, UzDaewoo. It’s a company that was bailed out by American taxpayers, paid the loan back with interest and just kept on making cars. adidas nmd But Good Lord, have the wheels fallen off this time. With the latest announcement of more than 8.2 million cars needing to be recalled due to faulty ignition switches, GM is illustrating the branding principle of “everything counts” better than a million success stories ever could. Today, it’s not enough to have strong marketing, great advertising, catchy slogans and jingles. You must earn the TRUST of the consumer daily and protect that TRUST with your life. Because once you’ve lost it, how can you ever expect anyone to believe what you’re saying again? Branding is designed to transfer emotions and emotional states to a particular product, company or idea. nike air max thea And it works both ways, both positive and negative. Currently, the only emotions being transferred from the GM brand are disgust and anger, at the very least sort of a head-shaking “man, you guys are just awful” sort-of feeling. It’s the same feeling I get when I watch Chelsea Handler do pretty much anything. Listen up, GM. In branding, EVERYTHING counts. You can’t project a warn fuzzy commercial of Dads doing great things for their kids and have the damn ignition panel burst into flames in the news report right after. You can’t. Get it together and get it into congruency — your message, your image, your behavior. asics gel lyte iii Maybe take a page out of Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” and lose a few of the more distracting other brands and make one of them the very best in the world. Then, maybe, just maybe, the American consumer might start trusting you again.
The American Society of News Editors released its annual newsroom census today and found an unexpected acceleration of job losses. Roughly 2,600 full-time professional editorial jobs at newspapers disappeared in 2012, a 6.4 percent decline compared to 2011′s total, leaving industry news employment at 38,000. And just so you know, that’s down one third since 2000. Yes, math fans, one third of journalists that were working in 2000 are not there today. Take a minute for that to sink in. chaussure nike pour homme There are many reasons for the decline. nike requin noir or Changing news habits, the recession, financial stability of the medium in general, but as a working PR professional I see it as nothing but bad news for this country. I went to J-School at Mizzou and it was beat into my head that journalism is important to America. adidas zx flux amazon It is supposed to balance power between government, business, special interests, etc and be that “watchdog” to make sure these entities color inside of the lines. chausson ugg But now that watchdog, once threatening, looming, drooling and ready to rip your face off has been reduced to a toothless old hound – a mere shadow of its former self. Fewer newspaper reporters means less news coverage any way you slice it. nike soldes More syndicated stories and less time and effort to dig into the stories in a way that serves journalism’s true purpose. But maybe that’s just what the country wants since study after study shows how we are reading less, watching more and just “snacking” on news here and there. It’s worth noting that the idea of paywalls for exclusive content could possibly reverse this disturbing trend. Following the lead of the NY Times, the OC Register here in lovely, Orange County, is paving the way with its new paywall strategy. And the OC Register is hiring more journalists not letting them go. Well, this reporter hopes to see more new faces in journalism and soon. This country needs its watchdog to be healthy, strong and ready to strike when needed.
The Huffington Post reports today that “A broken website imperils the largest expansion of the American safety net since the Great Society.” More than two weeks into the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov, the website created by President Barack Obama’s health care reform law still isn’t working right. Now, I can relate to the problem of massive demand for a service shutting down a website for a period of time. At NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants) where I used to work, we had a similar ongoing problem generated the first day hotel rooms were open to the Members for the annual event. Adidas Soldes You see, good hotel rooms close the convention center were scare and the Members went to great lengths to make sure they got one. adidas superstar So each year, we had a plan. bottes timberland pas cher The day would come and boom, we underestimated demand yet again and the darn website crashed. mu legend items online Every single year. nike tn Now magnify that problem by millions of people and a Federal mandate that all of them be insured for the whole system to work and you’ve got a much, much larger problem. And strangely enough, it’s a branding problem. Branding, you say? Why, is the tagline wrong or the logo the wrong color? Nope. Because our first rule of branding is (everyone together now) EVERYTHING COUNTS! It’s a negative customer experience (amplified by a ton of negative media coverage) and it has deeply affected the perception of Obamacare in the USA. adidas zx flux amazon The POTUS said this. chaussure timberland pas cher “The website that was supposed to do this all in a seamless way has had way more glitches than I think are acceptable.” Good for you. And where doth the buck stoppeth for the “glitches” Oh you guessed it, Barry. So my question is if you know millions of people are going to hit the site, use the site, etc. and you have as much money and resources that the Federal Gov’t has at its disposal, how in the holy healthcare Batman could you possibly have anything but a glowing customer experience from this site? I mean, EVERYTHING is riding on it. There should have been backup plans for the backup plans for the other backup plans on this one. And if I were staking my presidential legacy on this working, I would have been checking it myself and making sure people knew what was riding on this simple little website. It all counts, people.
One of the key practice areas in the career path of Public Relations is called Reputation Management. Simply put, it’s about helping companies and individuals create the best possible representation of what they offer to the world and keeping track of it on a regular basis. the north face fleece jackets on sale A slew of opportunistic companies now claim they can help client safeguard their online reputations by getting comments declared legally libelous and then systematically having them removed. nike x fragment They call it “the world’s first systematic program for removing slanderous web pages from popular search engine indexes.” And all for the low, low bargain price of $7,500. Awesome. adidas yeezy boost So a couple of things. adidas superstar 2 femme One of these companies is called “brand.com” and in my probably libelous opinion, they have very little to do with actual branding, more like a “cleaner” who disposes of the dead bodies so they don’t stink up da joint after the client has committed a gruesome murder. And they have even less to do with reputation. You see class, reputation is about, you know, behaving appropriately towards your customer and (wait for it) earning a positive reputation through those acts. adidas hamburg Going through with a big magic legal eraser to all negative comments about your business that could show up in a search engine is a Camelot-like existence that does not closely resemble…reality. What’s next? Erasing bad editorial reviews? Where is the line? Ironically enough, the reality they are erasing is very reality that their customers crave. If I see an unflawed business with a perfect record, I immediately don’t trust them because that is not possible (given that human beings are probably in charge). Adidas Zx Flux MUCH better to let your customers see your flaws and deal with them honestly then to scrub them out like blood stains on the digital carpet. So if branding is creating an emotional connection between your customers and your organization and reputation management is the process of building up those relationships over time, what is removing negative comments but another way to cover things up and be false in a world that thirsts for honesty (and really doesn’t trust your business to begin with). My advice is not to erase your slanderous comments, but to deal with them and in doing so, become a better business for your customers. nike air max 90 femme That is real reputation management. Does your company have the courage to be real in an artificial world full of services like those offered by brand.com? The reward is great for those that do.
This week, JC Penney has made some unflattering headlines with a new ad where it apologizes to its customers and asks them to come back to its stores with the tagline “come back and see us” I could not disagree with this approach more. Here’s why: The ad and specifically the message is unflattering to the brand, which let’s face it, isn’t stellar. Think about it in dating terms. Which is more attractive: secure or needy? Contrast it with Target who continues to make great strides in the new realm of retail making its brand strong, never apologizing or begging people to shop there. If you have to beg people, then you are clearly out of compelling options. JC Penney, like many larger retailers, has really been struggling to get in step with the consumer behavior driven changes that have affected the entire segment (Hello Best Buy, Toys R Us, among so many others). chaussure timberland homme So what should they do. Honestly, in my opinion, their stores are too big and reminiscent of by gone glory days of shopping mall retailing. adidas zx 750 It just isn’t done that way anyone. nike huarache And why? Because CONSUMERS have moved to something else. So adapt or die. Capitalism just isn’t very kind and we the American people should apologize to you, JC Penney for that. ugg australia bailey button But quit apologizing as your key message. You do have something cool to offer, but you’re going to have to reinvent the business to make it profitable, not just stop doing sales and then finding out that doesn’t work and digging a deeper hole. Oh and when USA Today is doing a story (you know for its largest daily newspaper media outlet in the United States) you might want to consider calling them back so you don’t get “JC Penney did not return calls for comment” That is amateur and embarrassing. You owe the PR profession an apology for that piece of work (or non-work). What have we learned here, class. Being needy didn’t work for you in high school, college and it sure as hell isn’t going to now. Stop it. ugg noir Be confident. Fix what is actually wrong and get yourself back on a path to profitability. Or go out of business in style! It’s not your fault the retail model changed this quickly. Change is tough for everyone. Buy hey, pull up your Stafford big boy pants and get it done. And call the media back please. BTW — you’re forgiven. Now make a case why you deserve to survive.